Why Now is the Time to Tackle Digital Transformation

by | 03.Nov.16

Since the dawn of the digital era, organizations have used high-tech tools to transform the way they run their businesses. Mainframes. Departmental UNIX servers. Client/server systems. PCs. Cloud. Mobile computing.

These and countless other IT solutions have revolutionized business operations. Yet today, innumerable articles, analysts’ reports, and vendor content proclaim that we’re in the midst of a new age of digital transformation.

And companies on the journey to digital transformation have claims of numerous benefits including revenue growth, pipeline acceleration, and increased customer retention. But, is “digital transformation” simply a catchy new name for a decades-old phenomenon? Or does the term signify a truly innovative trend?

Incremental Evolution

In 1803, 105 years before Henry Ford invented the Model T, British inventor Richard Trevithick demonstrated the first horseless carriage. As the name implied, the vehicle was a steam powered conversion of the horse-drawn carriage.

Like Trevithick’s invention, many of the earliest information technologies appeared on the scene as time and cost saving replacements for older tools. Word processors replaced typewriters. Databases superseded file cabinets and rolodexes. Dashed off emails displaced conventional snail mail.

Later, technologies, such as ERP solutions like SAP, CRM systems like Salesforce, and marketing automation platforms Marketo and Eloqua, automated previously manual business processes and made it easier for participants to share data online. These solutions streamlined departmental operations, saving time, reducing labor and cutting costs.

While some of these solutions were integrated, enabling employees using different modules to share data, the software was still siloed. These solutions were unable to automate processes that spanned multiple departments or share data with other systems in the organization without extensive, complex and costly integration.

Such solutions can lead to a disjointed experience for customers. For example, when we recently moved our office — one floor up in the same building, we transferred our internet service plan from our old office to the current office. A few days later, we got a call from a customer service representative at the internet service provider asking us why we’d canceled our service. We explained that we’d just moved one floor up, and didn’t actually cancel service. The caller stammered a little and apologized — we felt bad for the caller and unknown to the business…

Revolutionary Transformation

Today, demands on businesses have changed, which has led to a shift in IT requirements. While competitive differentiation once came primarily from offering better or cheaper products and services, it now results from a superior customer experience. Gartner Research recently reported that 89 percent of companies compete mostly on the basis of customer experience in 2016.

Seventy percent of customers’ and prospects’ engagement with any organization today is digital. Organizations are thus looking to provide the streamlined, frictionless, harmonious digital experience customers expect to foster the customer relationships across the customer journey.

This experience should include personalized communications and interactions that make customers feel known—from the moment they first encounter the vendor’s marketing through the sales process and throughout onboarding, customer service, upselling, cross-selling and retention.

Delivering the seamless experience that meets customer expectations requires a revolutionary transformation that goes far beyond simply adopting a new departmental IT system. 

Organizations undergoing digital transformation today start by developing a vision of their ideal customer journey. They then coordinate their operations to make that vision a reality. This alignment typically involves redesigning end-to-end processes in ways to address the needs of the customer. It also requires the adoption of technologies that automate and enable the new processes.

By using digital transformation to align business processes and technologies to deliver the desired customer experience throughout the customer journey, today’s organizations gain far more than cost and efficiency savings from their IT investments. They generate significant improvements to the bottom line.

As a recent Forrester study of company’s undergoing digital transformation reported: 52% of respondents believe they’ll increase overall revenues; 50% believe they’ll grow their number of customers; 52% will improve customer retention rates, and 49% believe they’ll improve customer lifetime values.

If your company is ready to tackle digital transformation, we can help you assess your current situation and prepare for a transformation that will flow throughout the entire organization. 

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